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Concept, Imagery, Narrative

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  • Date Published: April 2010
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9780511686597

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About the Authors
  • The idea of nirvana (Pali nibbāna) is alluring but elusive for non-specialists and specialists alike. Offering his own interpretation of key texts, Steven Collins explains the idea in a new, accessible way - as a concept, as an image (metaphor), and as an element in the process of narrating both linear and cyclical time. Exploring nirvana from literary and philosophical perspectives, he argues that it has a specific role: to provide 'the sense of an ending' in both the systematic and the narrative thought of the Pali imaginaire. Translations from a number of texts, including some dealing with past and future Buddhas, enable the reader to access source material directly. This book will be essential reading for students of Buddhism, but will also have much to teach anyone concerned with Asia and its religions, or indeed anyone with an interest in the ideas of eternal life or timelessness.

    • Written in accessible prose, so it is easy to read for non-specialists
    • Original texts are translated, to help students approach the material directly
    • Succinct and affordable, so particularly suitable for course adoption
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    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2011

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an academically thorough and, I would dare to say, passionate exploration into a concept that invites description and evocation but is beyond both.' Buddhist Studies Review

    '… for those whose main interest is in appreciating or teaching Collins's creative ways of engaging with the enigmatic yet fundamental Buddhist motif of nirvana, this new presentation of his work is really just perfect.' The Journal of Religion

    'The book remains an indispensable addition to courses on Buddhism.' Natalie Gummer, Religious Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2010
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511686597
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Systematic and narrative thought: eternity and closure in structure and story
    2. Nirvana as a concept
    3. Nirvana as an image
    4. Nirvana, time and narrative
    5. Past and future Buddhas
    Endnotes and bibliography.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Buddhism
    • Buddhist Traditions
    • Buddhist Traditions of India
    • Buddhist Visual Worlds
    • Eastern Religions
    • Indian Buddhism
    • Philosophical Topics
  • Author

    Steven Collins, University of Chicago
    Steven Collins is Chester D. Tripp Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism (Cambridge University Press, 1998).


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2011

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